Shooting international movies in Bengal has often meant horror stories of unprofessionalism and permission procuring problems. But Mamata Banerjee is all set to bring about a positive change in the scheme of things.
As a first step, she has sent actor-director Arindam Sil to the 68th Cannes Film Festival as part of an official delegate of the state government. Apart from trying to get films for the Kolkata Film Festival, Arindam Sil is there to woo international production houses by presenting Bengal as India’s most shooting-friendly destination.
He is carrying an audio-visual presentation that has glimpses of movies shot in Bengal -right from ‘Howrah Bridge’, ‘Mera Naam Joker’, ‘Yaraana’, ‘Main Hoon Na’, ‘ Aradhana’, ‘Mr and Mrs Iyer’, ‘City of Joy’, ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ to ‘The Japanese Wife’, ‘Yuva’, ‘Parineeta’, ‘Kahaani’, ‘Barfi’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’.
The presentation was prepared by the state tourism department.
Single window clearance
Shooting units can now apply free of cost to the information and cultural affairs department and inform about their requirements.
Arindam Sil said there are no costs involved in the shooting. “Nothing will be charged for shooting at public places and government areas. A nominal price will be charged only if 20 policemen are needed to guard shooting locations. All permissions will be handled and coordinated from one point. The I&CA department will coordinate with Lalbazar, Kolkata municipality and police for permissions. Getting the same permissions in Mumbai will mean shelling out approximately Rs 1 lakh. Added to that is the delay. In Bengal, we will offer logistic support as well,“ he added. Henceforth, police and municipal permissions to shoot in Bengal will get single window clearance.
State youth welfare minister Aroop Biswas said, “We are trying to expedite matters and extending necessary support for shooting in Bengal. Strikes don’t happen at the drop of a hat any longer.”
Those handling international productions in India are thrilled with this news.